Recently, on the coast of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, a dead widgeon tested positive for a highly pathogenic avian flu virus of the subtype H5N1. Several sick and dead wigeons were also found in the area. Neurological signs consistent with bird flu were observed in the sick birds. It is possible that the virus also reaches the Netherlands with the autumn migration of birds.
After the long-lasting bird flu outbreak that emerged in the Netherlands and abroad from the autumn of 2020, this recent finding in Germany is yet another reason to be alert. The subtype H5N1, which is related to the more common highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus, has been found sporadically in wild birds around the Baltic Sea in recent months.
It must be taken into account that in the Netherlands too, increased mortality can occur again in waterfowl, birds of prey and scavengers as a result of bird flu. It is important to report dead birds. This provides a better picture of the geographic distribution of the virus and of the distribution among different bird species.
Dead birds can be reported via the Sovon and Dutch Wildlife Health Center websites. Both organizations have been working together for many years to detect early signs of unusual bird deaths. If there are three or more waterfowl in the same place, they must be reported to the National Animal Diseases Reporting Center of the NVWA.
In a schematic overview More information can be found on the Sovon Vogelonderzoek Nederland website.
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